Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
Erosion of traditional ecological knowledge in local communities has generally been studied using ethnographic and ethnohistorical data. I argue that changes in foodways related to the loss of traditional ecological knowledge can also be observed in the archaeological record. I analyzed archaeobotanical remains recovered from two historic period Catawba sites, the Old Town and the New Town sites, and compared them with assemblages from other Catawba sites to track changes in plant use over time. The Catawba Nation, located in South Carolina, underwent coalescence and ethnogenesis in response to the turmoil of the colonial world. I propose that people living at Old Town and New Town, having lost significant traditional ecological knowledge during earlier crises, were in the process of discarding that knowledge as part of the Catawbas’ active strategy of survival that focused on succeeding in the colonial market economy at the expense of traditional subsistence economies.